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Parent Wellbeing

Tips for mealtimes

  • Put a routine in place for mealtimes, and pick suitable times: if baby’s too tired (or too full from a milk feed) they may not be interested in new foods.
  • Expect some mess! Make clean-up easier instead, with bibs for baby, cloths to wipe up, and covers for you or the furniture.
  • Eat together. Sit with your baby at mealtimes, and let them share your plate and taste your food. Mealtimes are about being sociable, so talk to your baby about what they’re eating.
  • Have fun! Encourage baby to play with food by experimenting with mashing, squashing, licking and squeezing. These activities allow your baby to taste and enjoy their food, and to learn new flavours.
  • Give lots of praise and smiles so baby can feel good about trying new things.
  • Introduce new foods one at a time – this way, you can spot which (if any) your baby is allergic or reacts poorly to.
  • Always supervise mealtimes, but trust Mother Nature. The gag reflex is further forwards in babies’ mouths than in adults – so if food slips towards the back, they’ll cough it up. They’ll do this frequently while learning to eat solid foods.
  • Before wiping their mouth, encourage your little one to lick away any food around the mouth. This is a good way to get baby’s tongue and mouth working towards swallowing effectively and developing muscles for talking.
  • Don’t get discouraged. Some babies may need to encounter a food, texture or flavour several times before they find it tasty or feel confident with it.

Want more advice or support?

You can talk via online chat to our family support workers and get advice specific to your situation and your family.

Visit www.actionforchildren.org.uk/talk

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